News at Princeton

Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014

Multimedia: Featured

Moving: Poetry at Princeton


To view the multimedia features on this page, you will need to download the latest version of Flash Player and/or enable JavaScript.


Poets from Princeton University talk about poetry and read their work. Read more.


Video Closed Captions


UCHECHI KALU:
Poetry is freedom.

I think it's one of the things
I'd forgotten, that

it shouldn't confine you.

So I can say poetry is freedom.

RACHEL GALVIN:
Some people have the idea that poetry

comes from the rhythms
in the body.


ALLEN K.WILLIAMS II:
Poetry is an obsession.

MAIA TEN BRINK:
Poetry is living.

UCHECHI KALU:
Poetry is like the best way

to tell your story.

JEFF DOLVEN:
What is poetry?

Poetry is so old and its place
in our lives is so various,

that there's no one definition
that's going to do it.

RACHEL GALVIN:
I like to think of what Marianne Moore tells us.

She says that, "Poetry gives us
imaginary gardens with real

toads in them."


ALLEN K.WILLIAMS II:
Poetry at Princeton is hard work.

TRACY K.SMITH:
Poetry at Princeton is inspiring.

MAIA TEN BRINK:
Poetry at Princeton is being inspired by

the people and architecture and
the knowledge around me to

write and participate
in poetry.


ALLEN K.WILLIAMS II:
You get a lot of chances here to rub elbows

with poets, teachers,
professors, and peers of a

very, very high caliber.

PAUL MULDOON:
Poetry at Princeton-- like some of those

other 'P'-words, philosophy,
physics-- helps us to

understand who we are in the
world and indeed the universe.

When the Samarians hit on the
lyre, and the Egyptians the

cat, and I told you my heart
was on fire, you said

good luck with that.

When Biro sketched out the...

RACHEL GALVIN:
It was interesting to be thinking of something.

It was interesting
to be thinking.

To be thinking. To.

It was interesting.

It was then she heard the voice
the one inside the

voice the one she heard.

It was then...

UCHECHI KALU:
I find myself not even afloat, instead

chasing wrists of light to
lead me back poolside.

You taught me to swim years
ago, I thought so

and so did I,

Yet drowning comes much...

PAUL MULDOON:
So every second year, we run the Princeton

Poetry Festival.

It's a festival, of course,
that's directed primarily

towards our students.

But it's also directed towards
the local community and indeed

the students in the
local community.

MAIA TEN BRINK:
Under my linen shirt, Bill Evans shivers me.

I skitter apart, like the
rays of the cymbal sun.


TRACY K.SMITH:
Your father swung his feet to the floor.

The kids upstairs drag something
back and forth on

shrieking wheels.

PAUL MULDOON:
Poetry helps us to live our lives at all those

other movements that may not
seem quite so dramatic as the

moments as which we are born, or
get married, or indeed die.

JEFF DOLVEN:
The garbage men are talking trash, deep in

thought beside their truck:

The job provokes reflection on
essences and accidentals.


ALLEN K.WILLIAMS II:
Big, beautiful book of zany-brainy gobbledygook,

bobbleheads are nodding off
while ivory towers wobble.

PAUL MULDOON:
Well, most of us are scared of poetry.

Most of us have had a very, very
bad experience of poetry,

usually in high school.

We've been taught-- and I think
taught is the operative

word-- to believe that without
a guide in the form of a

teacher, that a mere mortal who
would never find her or

his way through a poem.

It would be impossible.

And indeed, it's important I
think to realize that we have

to learn to read poems.

We have to learn to watch
movies, though we don't realize

what a great time we're having
as we're doing it.

We have to learn to listen
to music, rock

and roll, pop music.

We have to learn to listen to that,
Just as we have to

learn to read a poem.

So there's an element of
education here, which I think

is something that we have to
address right the way through

the education system.

And we're very happy to be able
to try to play our part

in all of that at Princeton.

And I told you my heart
was on fire.

You said good luck with that.

[MUSIC PLAYING]


UCHECHI KALU: It's just a way
to make our really boring

lives really exciting on the
page, and to sort of examine

what life is.


Back To Top